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Blackfish (2013)

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A documentary following the controversial captivity of killer whales, and its dangers for both humans and whales.


, (as Eli Despres) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 6 wins & 38 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Himself (archive footage)
John Hargrove ...
Samantha Berg ...
Herself - Former SeaWorld Trainer
Mark Simmons ...
Himself - Former SeaWorld Trainer
Kim Ashdown ...
Dean Gomersall ...
Himself - Former SeaWorld Trainer
Himself (archive footage)
Shamu ...
Himself (archive footage)
Carol Ray ...
Herself - Former SeaWorld Trainer
John Jett ...
Himself - Fomer SeaWorld Trainer
Dawn Brancheau ...
Herself - SeaWorld Trainer (archive footage)
Jeffrey Ventre ...
Himself - Former SeaWorld Trainer
Thomas Tobin ...
Dave Duffus ...
Himself - OSHA Expert Witness, Whale Researcher
Jim Payne ...
Himself (archive footage)


Notorious killer whale Tilikum is responsible for the deaths of three individuals, including a top killer whale trainer. Blackfish shows the sometimes devastating consequences of keeping such intelligent and sentient creatures in captivity. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Never capture what you can't control. See more »


Documentary | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for mature thematic elements including disturbing and violent images | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

18 October 2013 (Iceland)  »

Also Known As:

Blackfish - Egy kardszárnyú delfin története  »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$75,962, 21 July 2013, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$2,063,312, 13 October 2013
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


Tilikum is exhibiting "stereotypy", a behavior observed in animals in captivity such as bears or big cats stalking back and forth in their habitats, or lab primates rocking back and forth in confining cages. Making analogies from this to the human animal is of course controversial. See more »


Whoopi Goldberg: We don't speak Whale.
See more »


Referenced in Listen Up Philip (2014) See more »

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User Reviews

On how humans should (and should not) encounter orca whales

First, that's a great documentary: it beautifully combines Herzog's "Grizzly Man" thrilling, escalating tension of how things go wrong when humans misinterpret their relation with nature with Achbar & Abbott's "The Corporation" sharp examination of modern-day companies.

Second, it is aesthetically captivating and pleasant to follow. Cowperthwaite's reconstructs the narrative leading to the final, and fatal, encounter of Tilikum and Dawn Brancheau, alternating footage, both in the wild and in aquariums, with interviews and contextual data.

Finally, it is a work that, without ever abandoning neutrality, serves a mostly noble cause: that against the confinement of animals that are intelligent, social, and set to crisscross oceans, not to be kept in tanks.

My hope is that, by being such a fine piece of art, it also helps change the industry of marine-life entertainment theme parks.

So "Blackfish" is a big splash in more than one way! Go watch it.

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